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Before You Talk to Your Kids About Sex…

Katie Malinski

Health, Wellness, & Safety

Talk to your spouse, first.

Talking with your spouse about the values and lessons you want to teach your kids about sex is an incredibly important thing to do, but few people do it, because it can be uncomfortable.  But don’t let that stop you, it’s too important to avoid.  It’s also a great step towards being an askable parent, because every time you practice saying these words and thinking about these topics, you get a little more comfortable.  Being relaxed and comfortable (or at least, not being totally freaked out by the topic!) is critical to creating the kind of relationship with your kids where they come to you with questions about sex or any other important but potentially awkward topic.

Here are 4 simple questions to get the conversations started:

  1.  What anatomical terms do we want to use with our kids?  (ie, nicknames or correct terms)
  2. Do you believe that sexuality is a healthy and normal part of life?  (This is kind of a trick question, by the way.  Sexuality definitely is a healthy and normal part of life!)
  3. Talk about your family’s values. What do we want our child to value in a relationship? What family beliefs in regards to spirituality do we want to share? How do we want to inform our child about intimacy, love, and the feelings involved in a relationship? By explaining that sexuality is more than just a physical connection, we can teach our child how to be responsible.
  4. How much privacy are we willing to give our kids?  How much privacy do we expect them to give us?

Parents make the best teachers when it comes to learning about sex, but where to start?  An important and helpful first step is to start by talking with your spouse about the values and priorities you share and want to teach your children.

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Katie Malinski

Katie Malinski LCSW is a licensed child and family therapist and parenting coach. In addition to her one-on-one work with families and children, she presents dynamic parenting workshops on a variety of topics, including: Beyond Birds and Bees, Parenting Through Divorce, Typical Parenting Conflicts, and many more. Learn more about Katie at